Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Tricks for Racking Up Credit Card Charges

Need to make a lot of purchases on a credit card, perhaps to hit a frequent flyer threshold or satisfy a new card's bonus sign-up promotion? Two tricks:

1. Upgrade your gadgets
If you were planning on an X year replacement schedule, you won't lose much by acting sooner. Your current stuff will fetch higher prices without the additional depreciation. This isn't practical if you desperately need the latest version due to launch in a few months, but on items where current's good enough, this is an easy enough move.

2. Buy something expensive on eBay and then resell
Only do this with items where you understand the market (for me, that'd be Apple tech). Look for reasonably good deals, try to haggle down a few bucks (tell them you'll pay immediately), and do diligence to ensure the seller's legit (must be 100% feedback, get them to send you an image of their sales receipt, etc.). Then as soon as you receive the item (after checking for shipping damage, etc) immediately list it for sale on eBay.

If you can market (i.e. write item description) more skillfully than your original seller, or be more patient about awaiting a sale (most eBay sellers are surprisingly desperate), you should get at least the same price, and perhaps enough extra to pay the eBay commission (around $75 on a $2000 laptop) .

If you don't have a 100% feedback eBay account with a decent number (>100) of transactions, build one. This is as useful as a high credit rating. It ensures you can get top dollar on all your sales. I ensure my 100% feedback by being super solicitous (I once emailed an eBay customer from an ambulance to apologize for blowing my shipping date - I threw in a gift DVD - and I'm willing to lose money to keep someone happy).

Update: two more:

1. Amazon gift cards.
If you order as much Amazon prime as I do, you'll go through a few hundred dollars pretty quickly.

2. Pay ahead on bills.
You can send your big cable, mobile, or electric companies as much money as you'd like, and automatically work off the credit as monthly invoices appear. The only hang-up is if you decide to suspend service. But if so, you'll get a check very easily. As awful as Verizon, ConEd, etc. may be, they won't sleaze you out of an account credit. That's just not their particular con.

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